The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Kurdish Peshmerga fail to hold Sinjar Mountains

This is bad.  Very bad.

As the article (which you should read) points out, the Peshmerga had the higher ground, and still lost (holding out all of 2 hours). I don’t expect these are the best Kurdish units and the article does not speak to numbers (though ISIS, traditionally, wins while outnumbered), but it is also true that the Peshmerga today are not what they were even 10 years ago: peace and expansion means they are not the hardened fighters of the past.

The Peshmerga need a victory against ISIS.  I will also suggest that they need to call back up the old veterans, many of whom will still be of fighting age.  This is only the first battle, but the loss was unexpected and should cause the Kurdish military and government to reevaluate.

ISIS is a plague, whose first act is to destroy holy sites of other religions (Shia is another religion to them.)  They do not even reliably keep the Koran’s rules about tolerance (with a tax) of other Abrahamic religions.

This is an existential issue for Kurdistan, the caliphate will not allow a Kurdish homeland.

Those fools who called for the Iraq war and who bungled the Iraq operation, along with those idiots who armed the Syrian rebels are directly responsible for the routine war crimes of ISIS.  Absent the Iraq invasion, ISIS is nothing; absent the Syrian civil war (which was heavily backed by outside arms and money) ISIS is weak.


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  1. JustPlainDave

    For context, it’s important to remember that Djebel Sinjar is a bit of a geographical isolate. IIRC it’s something on the order of a few miles wide and 15 or 20 long, but I’d have to look it up. It’s a ways from the mountains proper. It’s possible the Pesh decided not to hold it.

  2. markfromireland

    The Iraki Red Crescent are reporting that Da’ash gunmen murdered more than 100 men from various groups Shi’i, Christian, Yazidi, at Talafar airport and then took their women and children into captivity. Mass murder followed by mass kidnapping if statements of intent by Da’ash are to be believed these women and children are to be sold as slaves.

    Yes, Ian, very bad.


  3. JustPlainDave

    There have been extensive updates to the Ezidi Press ticker since it was incorporated into the Syria Comment page:

  4. OldSkeptic

    “……which was heavily backed by outside arms and money”?

    It still is and is probably one of ISIS’s major sources of funding. Obama’s $500M is still to come too….

    Given that ISIS has taken out any opposition there (any other groups left are affiliated) then they get all, or at least a lions share, of all the money, weapons, etc that flows into the Syrian ‘resistance’. All those US/Saudi/Turkish/etc resources are funding them.

    I think that after the initial panic the US now thinks ISIS is doing a great job, though they’d probably prefer them to leave the Kurds alone and just concentrate on Syria and Lebanon. But a bit of ‘collateral damage’ won’t bother them too much.

    As for supporting monsters…well Pol Pot was our boy too… Heck if ISIS was into cannibalism we’d send them recipe books and the correct butchers knives to use.

    Yet another example of our endless fall into barbarism.

    Didn’t one of Heinlein’s books talk about the ‘crazy’ years of the early 21st century?

  5. troutcor

    “along with those idiots who armed the Syrian rebels . . .”
    armED – past tense?
    Did not Obama just ask for another big boost for those unicornian “moderates” in the Syrian “opposition?”

  6. Celsius 233

    Apparently the U.S. got its wish in spades; it has effectively destabilized the entire Eurasian hemisphere and now can’t figure out how to control it.
    We now live in very interesting, if perilous times…

  7. Spinoza

    It’s the Thirty Years War of the Islamic World. These nightmares are something out of the mind of John Calvin rather than Muhammad. The iconoclasts and puritans have returned with a vengeance. The West looks and laughs, drunk on blood and oil.

  8. Celsius 233

    @ Spinoza

    Yes, it would seem thus…

  9. Does anyone have a link to Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo?

  10. Albion

    Isn’t this just the same old story?
    Serbian thugs murdering people at Srebrenica using modern weapons, Jewish thugs in Palestine slaughtering children with artillery fire (American weapons), Australian settlers murdering all the aborigines in Tasmania.
    I think it is just human nature amplified terribly by modern weaponry.

  11. Texas Nate

    What do y’all think of the theory that the Kurds let this happen to draw US assistance?

  12. OldSkeptic

    You know, the strategic bankruptcy of Israel never ceases to amaze me.

    They have long been a supporter of the ‘rebels’ in Syria and have licked their lips at the thought of Sunni jihadists fighting against Hezbollah. They are probably cheering the rise of ISIS…for now at least.

    But, they can’t seem to grasp the concept that any force (ie ISIS) that could beat Syria and Hezbollah would crush them. Israel couldn’t beat Hezbollah alone. Anything capable of taking them out (plus the Syrian Army) would cut straight through their over equipped but under trained troops and probably be in Tel Aviv before their generals had managed to pull together their first Powerpoint presentation.

    A moment’s consideration would point out the obvious, that Syria, Lebanon and Jordan are good buffers for them and it might be sensible to actually support them. Better to fight with ISIS far away than on their own doorstep.

    But, hoping for some thoughtfulness, consideration and intelligence from Israel is like ‘waiting for Godot’ or a lotto win.

    Looking at the map and going by ISIS’s threats of a ‘big operation’ soon does make you wonder. The consensus seems to be that it will be Aleppo or Baghdad , but they have a record of surprising people. If I was Jordan, Israel or Saudi Arabia I’d be getting very nervous right now, these people at not adverse to ‘deep strikes’. And even Turkey should start to have a bit of a think about things, before some of its territory goes too.

    A lot will depend on whether they want to capture more territory or ‘make a statement’ right now.

    ISIS has slipped their leash and their old puppet masters are in the firing line just as much as anyone else is. Because everyone loves success, at least in the short term, ever more young Sunnis are coming over to its side.

    And they may be total monsters (actually they are total monsters, the new Khmer Rouge) but they are militarily competent monsters.

  13. Ian Welsh

    I’ll put my money on Hezbollah. But it’s true that Israel has the strategic finesse and maneuverability of an anvil and regularly backs the wrong factions.

    It seems that the Kurds had to retreat because they ran out of ammo.

    Maybe instead of giving weapons and ammo and money to the Iraqi army so they can abandon it on the field to ISIS, the US should be supplying the Kurds.

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